Opposition Leader and president of the New Democratic Party, Godwin Friday. (iWN file photo)

Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, has called on the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to make “the right choice” and fire the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government when they go to the polls on Nov. 5.

The Ralph Gonsalves-led administration received a hot tongue-lashing and a failing grade during a rally hosted by the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Sion Hill on Friday night.

“… they have failed in providing economic opportunities. They have failed in providing proper health care for our people. They have outlived their usefulness.

We are falling behind because [Gonsalves] wants to run all four legs of the relay. When you do that, we lose the race and we fall behind all our neighbouring countries in the region and our economic performance is lower than all the other OECS countries in the region.”

Friday charged the red-party with poor management of the country’s economy and further blamed the ULP for the rising unemployment rate and the low economic growth.

“Our country has gotten poorer under the ULP … More people are unemployed now in this country under this ULP government after almost 20 years. We are on the bottom, so when you hear [Gonsalves] say how they manage the [COVID-19] crisis so good; that the economics of St. Lucia and them fall more than the economies of St. Vincent, but when you are on rock bottom, where you have to fall?” the opposition leader said.

Friday said out of the countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), SVG recorded the lowest rate of economic growth for 2019 — 0.4%.

Friday promised party supporters that when the NDP takes office, cupboards will be overflowing and jobs will be available for all Vincentians, especially the youth.

“When we take office, you will be able to buy more groceries because we are going to reduce the VAT from 16 to 13%. Immediately, your life improves.

“When the young people ask, ‘Where is a place for me?’ and there is none under this government, we have to change that. That is our obsession in this political party. Every day we are looking for opportunities to create jobs and economic opportunities for the people of this country, to allow our businesses to thrive, to make sure they have the expertise and the capital and the loans available for the famers and fisherfolk to do well.”

Friday said the upcoming general elections is the most important in the last 25 years and it is a choice that Vincentians “have to get right”.

“We have a clear choice between the broken promises you have heard from the ULP. You have a choice between the nepotism, the selfishness, the greed, the incompetence of a government that promises so much and delivers so little. You have a choice between the government that has run out of steam, that they have become expired goods on a shelf where they can’t deliver any more hope or nutrition for the people of this country,” Friday told party supporters.

“This is the most important election that we are going to have in this country for a long time because… as voters, you will not only decide what will happen to you for the next five years but what will happen to your children and your grandchildren for the next 10, 15 years going forward.”